Is it wrong to use sex-selection methods to avoid passing on a serious illness?

Full Question

I am a carrier of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, which means if I have a boy there’s a good chance he will have this terrible disease. I want to do everything possible to make sure my next child is healthy. There’s a process called MicroSort that increases the chance of having a boy or girl by removing sperm with Y-chromosomes. Is this process wrong according to the Church?


It is wrong according not only to the Church but according to God. God designed human sexuality to work in a particular way. Medical technology can be used to assist the natural functioning of that process (e.g., surgery could be used to repair fallopian or vas deferens tubes), but medical technology cannot be used morally to replace the reproductive process that God designed. Indeed, nothing can replace the process morally (that is why homosexual behavior, for example, is intrinsically immoral).

The MicroSort process involves several stages that unambiguously interfere with God’s design for human sexuality. The sperm must be collected, sorted outside of the body, and then either in vitro fertilization or artificial insemination must be done. All of these—including the way the sperm collection is normally done—are intrinsically contrary to the way God has set up human reproduction. The Micro-Sort method thus constitutes a replacement of natural and not the assistance of nature and is intrinsically gravely sinful.

There may be, however, something natural that can be done in your situation. For further assistance, contact the National Catholic Bioethics Center, 159 Washington Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02135, (617) 787-1900,


1 comment

  1. Patrick Gannon Reply

    Where in the bible does it say that you shouldn’t take prudent steps to prevent causing harm to another human being?

    The answer says it is wrong according to God, but He didn’t actually tell us that anywhere; apparently He did not foresee these kinds of events when His “holy” books were written. Bible God seems to have had zero knowledge of technical advances to come – otherwise He would have described Evolution in Genesis.

    The RCC wants to put the questioner in the most difficult of spots. If she uses contraception she’s committing a mortal sin. If she tries to have a child by using technical advances to prevent damage and harm to her baby, that’s a mortal sin. If she is married and does not have relations with her husband, that’s probably a mortal sin too. This woman, or potentially her offspring, are screwed if she stays in the Church, and the best thing she can do is look for an organization that is more caring than the RCC, which persists in its fascination with all things having to do with sex. Note where it says: “All of these—including the way the sperm collection is normally done—are intrinsically contrary to the way God has set up human reproduction.” Another bunch of nonsense. The Onan story was about disobeying Jewish inheritance laws, and had nothing to do with masturbation or coitus interruptus, but Bible God has this perverse fascination with what we do naked – or maybe, just maybe, it’s all those virgin men in an unnatural setting that are the real problem.

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